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U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFFC)

Adm. Daryl Caudle

USS Intrepid

Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command

  • Good morning everyone – and thank you Mel for your kind introduction. I am honored to be here and join you onboard the illustrious and renowned Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.
  • I participated in Fleet Week last year following the 2-year hiatus from COVID-19 and was truly blown away by this city and its people. I thought – it can’t get better than this, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. From the Intrepid Team to the Navy League… and every single New Yorker, you have proven again how special this city is and how amazing its people are.
  • On behalf of the 2,700 members of the maritime services here with me, thank you for all you have done, all you do, and what you will continue to do for our military.
  • And, for all of you here, thank you for coming to this Memorial Day Ceremony – your support to our young Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and Guardians speaks volumes about your commitment to what we like to call the center of the universe – our service members and their families.
  • Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who gave their all in service to our country while wearing the cloth of their nation. It is a solemn day for reflecting on the cost of freedom, and the families they kissed goodbye, walking proudly into the face of unfathomable danger, to protect and defend our way of life.
  • And so, I would like to acknowledge all those gold star families across the world, and any here with us today. I am humbled, as we all are, by your strength, dignity, grace, and your personal sacrifice for so many.
  • I don’t think I could say it better than the words by Winston Churchill:
    • “Never so much owed, by so many, to so few.”
  • Nothing can take the place of your loved one, and as General Joshua Chamberlain once wrote:
    • “We pray daily to be worthy of your sacrifice.”
  • Memorial Day dates back to 1868, where President James A. Garfield spoke to the 5,000 volunteers at Arlington National Cemetery who gathered to decorate the final resting place of over 20,000 Civil War soldiers buried there. He said:
    • “One supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made their immortal patriotism and their virtue.”
  • As the years passed, Americans far and wide began holding springtime tributes to the fallen, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.
  • Today, more than 42 million service members have sworn an oath to support and defend the Constitution, their service spanning the Revolutionary War for Independence, the Civil War for freedom and the path to equality for all men and women, to the World Wars that built a prosperous, international rules-based order, to finally the Global War on Terrorism that helped keep us safe at home.
  • With each conflict in mind – whether on foreign shores, flying over enemy terrain, sailing through treacherous waters, or defending our homeland – we commemorate this day and to memorialize all those 666,000 patriots who selflessly laid their lives down upon the altar of freedom.
  • And so, it is a great honor and privilege for me to represent all six branches of our Armed Forces and its veterans on Memorial Day here at the Intrepid Museum.
  • On behalf of all our nation’s service members and their families, my wife Donna and I want to thank each and every one of you and all those around the world whose staunch dedication, vigorous enthusiasm, and endless support provide us the stable foundation we as America’s warfighters need to defend this great nation.
    • So, to Ms. Susan Marenoff-Zausner, Mr. Bruce Mosler, Mr. Mel Immergut, and the entire Intrepid Museum team – congratulations on your upcoming 80th anniversary of commissioning. The work you are doing to instill integrity, innovation, and inclusivity amongst our nation’s youth is unprecedented – thank you for your loyal devotion to duty in honoring our nation’s heroes and inspiring generations of Americans.
    • Also, to Mayor Adams and the Honorable Governor Hochul – and to the patriotic people of New York City and the great State of New York – thank you for the extraordinary hospitality during this 35th Fleet Week and for so graciously sharing your wonderful city with the men and women of the United States’ military, representing the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, moms and dads across this great country.
  • It is because of people like you, and cities like this, that our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Space Force, and Coast Guard create the most formidable integrated combat team the world has ever known – hands down, no exception.
  • Standing alongside such a powerful team, we are even more grateful to share this week with our Allies and Partners from the United Kingdom, Canada, and Italy. Our NATO Allies’ honor us, and their commitment to a shared international, rules-based order remains a resolute and unbreakable bond.
************* LEGACY *************
  • This year’s Fleet Week was an overwhelming success – it was awe-inspiring to see our Navy ships embarked with our Marines, as well as the Coast Guard, and NATO ships docked in this historic harbor – and without question, I know the nearly 3,000 maritime service warriors and our allies cherished every moment.
  • I know your interactions with these maritime services, through the nearly 200 engagements, were spectacular –  from ship tours, to Yankees games, watching them march in a parade and to witnessing the Joint Promotion and Reenlistment Ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial – I am confident those service members left you proud to know your country is in good hands.
  • Our maritime services are the greatest this world has ever known because of our people – our single greatest enduring, competitive advantage – the key to our unbridled overmatch over any potential adversary or strategic competitor.
  • Since our nation’s founding, our people have fought together as one - in defense of America – to preserve the American dream – to safeguard the promise of a better future – and to uphold the proclamation of ‘We the People.’
  • Those who have donned the cloth of our nation have hailed not only from North America, but from all corners of the world, and from every walk of life – each with different backgrounds and experiences – and together, each personify what is truly ‘best’ about our country – our unyielding resolve and our ability to persevere through adversity and come out on top. We, as Americans, simply do not know how to lose.
  • Each warfighter here are masters of their trade. Each contributes substantially to their command and the military’s mission. Each of their families serve our communities in equally noteworthy ways.
  • That legacy is defined by a long list of Americans whose courage, heroism, and sacrifice upheld the highest tradition of what our nation stands for, and forged the unbreakable bonds of partnership, peace, and prosperity around the world in defense of the American people, our partners and our allies.
  • Americans everywhere take time today to reflect upon the honorable service and heroic self-sacrifice of the nation’s sons and daughters – all who paid the ultimate price for freedom.
************* CLOSING *************
  • I see the best of our nation in each and every service member, in every military spouse, in every military dependent and family member.  Your support is what underwrites the excellence of our Armed Forces and their ability to excel.
  • May God Bless all those who laid down their lives in service to this great nation – and to their families who shared so selflessly their loved ones with us all.
  • May God Bless our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Guardsmen, Guardians, and Veterans everywhere.
  • And May God Bless this city, this wonderful nation and all those we serve to protect.  Thank you.  |  |  Navy FOIA  |  DoD Accessibility/Section 508  |  No Fear Act  |  Open Government  |  Plain Writing Act  |  Veterans Crisis Line  |  VA Vet Center  |  FVAP  |   DoD Safe Helpline  |  Navy SAPR  |  NCIS Tips  |  Privacy Policy  |  Site Map  |  Contact US
Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command   |   1562 Mitscher Ave., Suite 250   |   Norfolk, Virginia 23551-2487
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